New Catholic University Seeks Both Human and Divine Support

June 22, 2004 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
SAN DIEGO, CA — The founders of New Catholic University are asking for your prayers. The North San Diego County-based university, scheduled to accept its first students in Fall 2005 pending state approval, has announced the creation of an advisory board that will petition the Holy Spirit for the university's success.

The Board of the Faithful is composed of faithful Catholics throughout the world who are praying that the university remains true to the "uncompromisingly Catholic' character envisioned by its founders. Members also pray that the founders and the currently all-volunteer staff will be able to locate benefactors who share their commitment. The board is one of four key advisory boards, including an academic advisory board, spiritual guidance board and board of trustees.

"The Board of the Faithful is the most important of them all,' university president Derry Connolly said. "If what we're building is not based on an act of faith, we might as well give up now.'

While the university posted information about the Board of the Faithful on its website, it never actively recruited members. But today, members hail from every continent and their numbers are growing. Connolly expects such dramatic growth in the future that he is already looking for a volunteer to oversee the board and its activities.

All current board members are Catholic, but non-Catholics are welcome to join, Connolly said. Several non-Catholics have already included the university in their daily prayers, citing shared values.

For Connolly, the formation of a Board of the Faithful was a no-brainer. A firm believer in the power of prayer, Connolly remembers failing his high school math and science classes before turning to St. Joseph of Cupertino, the patron saint of students taking exams, for help. Today, he holds a doctorate from the California Institute of Technology.

"Looking back on my life, prayer has always played a pivotal role at key turning points,' Connolly said. "The idea of New Catholic University itself was born from prayer. If it's to succeed, it'll be for that reason.'

Thoughts of building New Catholic University first took shape in Connolly's mind during a visit to Franciscan University's Steubenville campus, as he knelt before the Blessed Sacrament in the university chapel. For three years, his focus turned to other things and plans for a new university were put on the back burner, but another visit to Franciscan University brought it all back. Upon returning to San Diego, Connolly shared his idea with four friends and New Catholic University was born.

As New Catholic University prepares for its inaugural gala on Sept. 25, the prayers of many members of the Board of the Faithful remain focused on the university's attempts to lay the groundwork for its opening. The black-tie optional gala, which will include dinner and entertainment, will be held at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine. Connolly hopes to attract at least 500 supporters to the gala, a figure that will bring the university one step closer to winning the hearts and minds of committed Southern California Catholics and a goal that gives the Board of the Faithful a lot to pray about.

"If this university is to be realized, it'll be the Holy Spirit's ‘nudging' of potential volunteers and benefactors that brings it about,' Connolly said. "Human effort can't do it alone.'

New Catholic University will offer degree programs in technology, mass media communications, and business. With all academic disciplines, the university hopes to foster an entrepreneurial spirit, encourage leadership and innovation, and to provide each student with a solid moral framework, firmly grounded in Catholic ethics.

For more information on New Catholic University or its inaugural gala, visit the university's website at To reserve a table or purchase individual tickets for the gala, call (858) 672-9080.